Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Musings

I took off work this week, hoping to do nothing, but so far, I've worked most of the day from home. In between emails and phone calls, I've done a little house cleaning, sheet swapping and washing clothes.

Of course, I did some cooking, too. I almost always do cooking when I'm home. Today's "blue plate special" was vegetable soup and cornbread muffins.

The soup is my go-to dish when I have veggies that are nearing their "use 'em or lose 'em" status. Celery. Onion. Carrots. Potatoes. Add chicken broth, a can of tomatoes, salt and pepper. It never disappoints, and is perfect for cold, gray days like today.

The muffins were a new recipe, and they turned out scrumptiously good. The texture was almost biscuit-like, and who doesn't like biscuits?

I also spent some time on my knees in prayer today, giving thanks and making my requests known to God. As the tears rolled down my face and dripped onto the bed where I was kneeling, I felt God's presence in the room, and I knew he understood each tear that fell. How grateful I am for an omniscient God, who knows our grief and carries us when our strength is gone.

Well, the afternoon light is fading now. I think I'll put some logs in the fireplace, heat some apple cider and call it a blessed day. 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mosaic Monday ~ A Little Glitter Never Hurt Anybody

My precious grand niece melts my heart each time I see her. I can't believe how fast time has flown since she was born, and how fast she is growing. She's not walking yet, but will be any day now.

While visiting with her a few nights ago, she decided to taste a glitter ball from Memaw's Christmas tray. You know the end of that story—glitter all over her face!

I'm linking to Judith's Mosaic Monday.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Powering Down and Looking Up

It was the summer of 1995—a scorcher, as I recall. After running errands most of the morning, I returned home around noon to find my garage door wouldn't open. Thinking the battery in my opener was dead, I exited the vehicle and made a beeline for the front door. But, alas, the front door was dead-bolted, and I didn't have that key. What now?

While pondering my inescapable predicament, an elderly widower from across the street—not known for his camaraderie skills—walked out of his house and waved my direction. After wondering what he had eaten for lunch, I waved back, returned to the car and jiggled the opener again.


Figuring a good kick might do the door some good, I exited the car a second time to discover another neighbor, walking toward me, shaking her head sympathetically as if she understood my plight. Clearly, something strange was going on here. How had the news of my dead garage door spread so rapidly? Was I being watched by federal agents? What was the deal?

Just as I was about to hightail it out of the neighborhood, Larry from next door appeared, declaring what everybody but me already knew: The electricity was off.

According to Larry, he and his two kids were playing a video game, when—poof!—everything went black. Larry sounded a little excited by the sudden event, but I could tell by looking, his two kids weren't. And while they moaned about being bored, a handful of people—most of whom I had never seen—gathered on my front lawn, sharing stories of what they were doing when the lights went out in Grand Prairie. Even the elderly widower was there.

The afternoon sun was hot (and getting hotter by the minute), but this was the most adult conversation I had had in some time, and I was enjoying myself immensely.

One lady in the group looked familiar. When questioned, she told me she had visited my garage sale a few weeks back. We chatted awhile, and after discovering our daughters were the same age, she smiled broadly and pointed to her house across the way.

All around, the atmosphere was friendly, upbeat—neighborly I guess you would say. Pretty soon, even Larry’s kids were having a good time, playing tag, climbing trees, chasing a Cocker Spaniel.

After about 30 minutes or so, the power returned. I expected shouts of jubilation to go up, but there were none. In fact, no one seemed anxious to leave.

But leave, they did. One by one, my unexpected guests said their good-byes and ambled off down the sidewalk. (I guess without an excuse to stay, they were uncomfortable staying.)

To my surprise, the last person to go was the elderly widower. With just the two of us standing in the yard, he glanced at his worn shoes and smiled. “Well, good day,” he said, nodding and giving me a funny little salute.

I returned his salute. “We need to visit more often,” I said, sighing under my breath.

He nodded again, saluted again and slowly shuffled across the street. Watching him reenter his lonely little world of one, I marveled at the lump in my throat and the ache in my heart. I had visited with him such a short time, but I hated to see him go. I wanted to run after him and apologize for not being a better neighbor, for not offering a hand in time of need, for not doing a lot of things good neighbors do. But I didn't.

My garage door was working now. And like everybody else, I gathered my belongings, retreated inside my house and closed the door behind me. Not because I wanted to, understand. But like the others, who reluctantly had gone back to their places of abode, I had no reason not to; life’s diversions had made it so.

Fast forward 20 years, and countless new diversions have invaded our lives, keeping us focused downward at our electronic devices, instead of interacting with those around us, sometimes including the people we love.

Just last week, while dining out with my sister, I saw tables of diners, all looking down, checking their text messages, scrolling through social media, playing games, seemingly oblivious to the warm bodies sitting next to them. For some reason, it made me sad.

I'm not suggesting we throw away our cell phones (although I really wouldn't mind) or return to primitive living without electricity in our homes. But we could power down the diversions for a while, exit our dark holes of digital living and relearn the art of face-to-face encounters with real people who have real needs and desire real hands to hold. We could. We should. We just have to want to.

"You are the light of the world," Matthew 5:14.

I'm joining Spiritual Sundays, where faith lifts are free.